The frequencies of precursors of C57BL/6 T lymphocytes that respond to DBA/2 alloantigens by secreting the lymphokines interleukin 2 (IL-2), macrophage-activating factor (MAF), and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) have been directly compared with cytolytic T lymphocyte precursor (CTL-P) frequencies in limiting dilution microcultures established from spleen cells positively or negatively selected on the basis of Lyt-2 phenotype. A clear dichotomy was observed between CTL-P, which were contained in the Lyt-2+ fraction, and precursors of IL-2-secreting cells, which were detected almost exclusively in the Lyt-2- population. In contrast, precursors of cells secreting MAF and GM-CSF were found in both populations: almost all responding cells from the Lyt-2- fraction produced both these factors, whereas the precursor frequency of MAF-secreting and GM-CSF-secreting cells was three- to fourfold lower in the Lyt-2+ population. These frequency data were consistent with quantitative differences observed in the average production of these lymphokines by Lyt-2+ and Lyt-2- populations.

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